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Modlin, a fortress at the mouth of cavalry, having orders to assume the command of Valentin's detachment. In a short time, Uminski compelled the guard to evacuate their position, and to retire towards the main army, leaving him in possession of Ostrolenka, where he effectually crippled all their movements. The conjuncture seemed to Skrzynecki favorable for active operations on his part, which he commenced at the end of March.
the Narew, situated in the region consigned to his operations. Valentin was quite fortunate in his enterprises in that quarter, and rendered important services to the common cause. In a large view of the relative situation of the contending armies, Valentin and Dwernicki thus occupied the extremities of the Polish line of operations, while the main body or centre of the Poles was at War
Skrzynecki ascertained that At this crisis, and previously to Diebitsch had withdrawn the recommencing hostilities, General main body of his forces to some Skrzynecki addressed a concilia- distance, leaving only a corps of tory communication to Marshal observation off against Praga, conDiebitsch, making propositions of sisting of the two corps of Rosen peace on terms satisfactory to the and Giesmar, stationed in the enprovisional government, and ex- virons of Wawr and Milosna. pressing the desire of the latter Upon this the Polish generalissito prevent the further effusion of mo reviewed his troops, preparablood, if they could obtain that, tory to attempting the execution for which only they contended, of a plan for throwing himself the faithful performance of the unexpectedly with all his force on promises made by Alexander to the detached corps of Rosen and their nation. But these offers of Giesmar. On the evening of accommodation produced no good March 30th, the two divisions of result, and the contest was renew- infantry under Rybinski and Gied with fresh determination. On elgud, received orders to cross the 10th of March, Generals Giel- the bridge to Praga. The adgud and Jankowski were ordered vanced guard of the Russians octo make a reconnoisance upon the cupied a strong position in a forright bank of the Vistula ; but the est between Wawr and Milosna, manœuvre was not skilfully, or at just in the rear of the scene of least not profitably, conducted. the great battle of Grokow. GiAbout the same time, operations elgud was to occupy the principal on a larger scale were commenc- road leading to Grokow, while ed in the region of Modlin and Rybinski marched upon the enePultusk. The Russian guard my by way of Kawenzyn, so that under Prince Michael, which had the two divisions might make a recently arrived to the number of combined attack in front and rear 20,000 men, to make up for some at the same time. Favored by a of the Russian losses, was march- thick fog, the Poles succeeded in ed thither, and General Uminski so placing their detachments, followed them with a division of that, by seven o'clock in the
morning of the 31st, the Russians were completely surrounded, and were driven back upon the corps of Rosen, closely pursued by the Poles. A running fight took place along the old field of Grokow, and through Wawr and Milosna, the Russians being in such confusion that some of their battalians fired upon each other, and two entire regiments of 5,000 men surrendered in a body, with their officers and colors, in addition to groups of prisoners being taken in every direction.
From Milosna the road leads through a forest to Dembe-Wielke, at which place Rosen was posted with about 30,000 men and 40 field pieces. Gielgud and Rybinski having pursued the flying troops of Giesmar to this point, waited for the whole Polish force to come up; and in consideration of the advantageous position of the Russians, Skrzynecki, who personally arranged all the details of these operations, resolved to make an assault by cavalry, under cover of twilight. Accordingly, at night fall, the entire cavalry was collected and formed into columns of attack. Traversing a dyke in front of the enemy's position, they raised the hurrah, and dashed sabre in hand upon the astonished and confounded Russians. The effect of this surprise, was a total route of the whole of Rosen's corps. The commander himself narrowly escaped being taken prisoner, and a large number of his troops fell into the hands of the Poles. Thus in one day, by a series of wellexecuted manœuvres, the two Russian corps of Giesmar and Rosen
were completely broken up, with a loss to the Poles of only 500 men in killed and wounded. These brilliant advantages were followed up so ably the next day also, that the Russians were continually driven from every point where they attempted to rally, as far as Kaluszyn. Here night put an end to the pursuit and to the successes of the Poles; after they had captured the magazines of the enemy at Milosna, Minsk, and Kaluszyn, and subjected him to a loss of 15,000 soldiers, 60 officers including two generals, 26 field pieces, 1,500 horses, and a great quantity of arms and munitions of war.
All the plans, which Diebitsch had formed for the campaign, were utterly defeated by the brilliant victories of the Poles over the corps of Giesmar and Rosen. Instead of crossing the Vistula as he contemplated, and transferring the seat of war from the right to 'the left bank of the river, he was compelled to strengthen himself in position at Kock, and to take measures to preserve the remains of his advanced guard from absolute destruction. In addition to losing the services of the Imperial Guard, which remained near Ostrolenka, he found it necessary to send another division under General Kreutz to support General Witt against Dwernicki, in the palatinate of Lublin. Thus after this brave general, with his handful of troops, originally 3,000 in number, had cut up the corps of Wirtemberg, the Russians thought it necessary to oppose him with not less than 20,000 men, under Kreutz and Witt. He continued
to gain the most brilliant advan- tensive region between the Dwina tages over them, making the for- and the Niemen. Their strength tress of Zamosc his point d'ap- was continually increased by pui, and occasionally advancing means of the arms taken from as far as Lublin and Wlodawa, the Russians; and thus the forces where he received daily accession under Diebitsch were placed in of volunteers from the Russo-Po- the critical position of having a lish provinces of Volhynia and victorious Polish army in their Podolia. front, a wasted country around them, and spreading revolt in Lithuania between them and Russia.
It was at this crisis that the cause of the Poles gained strength from the breaking out of insurrection in Lithuania, one of the Russian spoils of ancient Poland. The Lithuanians, while they suffered under the tyranny of their Russian master, had never lost their attachment to the Polish name; and at the very commencement of the revolution, they were anxious to make a movement in concert with their brethren in Warsaw, but were discouraged by the Dictator, Chlopicki, for what reason it does not appear. But they continued to bear the object in view; and at length their rising was forced on by the following circumstance. Many of the Lithuanian patriots were assembled in the church of Osmiany to consult upon measures of insurrection, when the doors were forced by a regiment of cossacks, who entered and sabered part of the patriots within the church itself, making prisoners of most of the residue. Upon this, the Lithuanian patriots in the vicinity armed themselves, and gave the first impulse to the ready zeal of the inhabitants. In a short time, about 2,000 Lithuanians had succeeded in driving out Russian garrisons to the number of eight or ten thousand, spreading revolt and consternation through the ex
The danger of Diebitsch's position was greatly augmented by the next movement of the Poles. The remains of the corps of Rosen and Giesmar having been united, were stationed at Boimie, the place were a battle was fought in February. Skrzynecki planned another successful attack on these devoted troops, which took place at Igani in the same neighborhood, on the 9th of April, and was one of the most brilliant victories of the whole war. The Russians lost great numbers in prisoners and killed, and left the field of battle to the Poles, being saved from total ruin only by the necessity the Poles were under of suspending their operations to construct a bridge over the river Kostrzyn, before they could concentrate all their forces.
Let us pause a moment at this point, and contemplate the progress, which the Russians had thus far made. They had borne down upon the Poles two months before, with a vast army, which seemed quite sufficient to crush the insurgents. It was the colossal power and resources of the Russian Empire brought to bear upon the little kingdom of Poland, with a population of only four
millions of souls, cut off from all foreign succor, destitute even of a seaport by which they could receive arms from any friendly foreign country, and hemmed in by the Rrussians and Austrians, the brother robbers of the Russians. And yet it is undeniable, that hitherto patriotism and the love of independence, although laboring under every disadvantage, had been constantly triumphant over brute force possessed of every advantage. Poland, although she saw her fields wasted and her towns ravaged by the Russian invaders, yet also saw the whole country covered with the Russian dead, and the wrecks of the Russian squadrons and colOne victory more, and
the Poles would have nothing to fear. Even now, murmurs were heard in the heart of Russia itself, among the proper subjects of the Czar, who could not patiently see the resources of the Empire squandered in the cause of oppression and tyranny in kindred Poland. At this crisis, a single act of energy on the part of either England or France, each of whom sees in Russia her most formidable enemy, the one in Asia, the other in Europe,would have bestowed independence on the gallant Poles, and restored their country to the post it deserves to hold in Europe, as the barrier between Russia and the western states of the Continent.
Poland.-Position and Strength of the Armies.-Skrzynecki's Plans.-Defeat of Sierawski.-Dwernicki's Operations.-The Cholera Morbus.-Battles of Kuflew and Minsk.-Advance of the Poles.-Battle of Ostrolenka.-Death of Diebitsch.-Operations in Lithuania.-Battle of Wilna.-Jankowski's Expedition. -Excitement in Warsaw.-Disasters in Lithuania.-Retreat of the Poles.-Chlapowski and Rohland enter Prussia.-Paskewicz passes the Vistula.-Council of War.-Dembinski's Operations.-Fall of Warsaw.-Dispersion of the Polish Army.— Reflections.
THE relative strength and position of the two armies, subsequently to the battle of Igani, were such as to encourage the Poles in attempting other operations, of the same nature with those, which had recently proved só successful. Since taking the field in December, the Russians had received two reinforcements of 20,000 men and 36 field pieces each, so that during the war they had marched 240,000 men with 372 pieces of artillery, against the insurgent Poles. At the epoch of the battle of Grokow, they had lost 50,000; and they had scarcely lost a less number since; so that about 140,000 Russians remained in the field. The Polish army was maintained at its original footing, of some 40,000 men, the recruits being sufficient to make up the occa
sional losses. After the battle of Igani, the Russians were so posted, as to be divided into four isolated bodies. The corps of Rosen and Giesmar were at Siedlce, the situation of which on the river Liewiec we described in the preceding chapter. The main body was extended between Lukow and Kock, that is, south of Siedlce towards the Vistula. The Imperial Guard was at Ostrolenka on the Narew, and of course beyond the Bug. Finally, the corps of Witt and Kreutz was in Lublin, far to the south of the main body. Thus we see that the Russians were stretched in a line running north and south, fronting on Warsaw, as in the beginning of the war, but with this difference, that two large detachments were separated quite widely from the main army, one at